Last weekend i had the chance to test drive an Italian Devil, the 2010 Aprilia RSV4-R superbike.
The bike is a monster!
Let's start with the edgy in your face i wana race all day design of the bike! the super narrow rear seat giving it a rocket forward feel, the triple headlight design fitting so well without cluttering the front, the sleek low race like window screen (doesn't provide much wind cover though). The bike's ivory white is it's only color in the UAE market, setting it aside from the Racing rocket big sister RSV4 Factory's gorgeous red and black colour theme!
Design and ergonomics wise, the bike is tiny, barely shorter than the Yamaha R6! this is mainly because of the genius compact V4 engine design, allowing for less space than Japanese inline engines. The seat is quite thin and hard, providing some comfort for short stints, but a numb ass is in waiting for long rides; the seat sits pretty high actually compared to other bikes at 33.3 inches from the ground. Being a tall rider, the footpeg position is quite challenging cuz of the compact design of the bike, but you get used to it. The handlebars are quite well positioned for a racing feel and you tend to dip more to the front compared to other bikes, similar to the Ducati 1198S i tried a while back (Review here).
The bike's compact design and light weight (almost as light as the Yamaha R1) gives it a light feel on the road with a very surprising ease in the side-to-side action. The low center of gravity and perfect balance gives you a boost of confidence in riding the bike hard!
The instrument cluster is very straight forward with a compact round tachometer and the classic Aprilia orange backlight LCD with a full range of rider info, even has a bike stand engaged light! unfortunately it does not have a fuel gauge which is a downer for such a thirsty bike, but has the low fuel light. i really like the orange fork touch and the side key position for better HDD display. im not a fan though of the cylinder shaped brake fuel canister, i prefer the squarish ones!
As far as the ride goes, MAMAMIA!
The bike is a revving rocket!
First off, the low rpm range of the bike is quite satisfactory, very smooth and not as nervous as you would expect, this is mainly due to the great engine design, with the pistons being perfectly calibrated at any rpm range.
The main grunt of the bike however comes at around 7,500rpm, with a huge umph! contrary to the full power you get at blast off from the jap bikes! that at least kept me from controlling wheelies every time i launch the bike at a green light :p
You do notice however a tiny flat line when you reach the 10,000rpm mark, but it quickly kicks back into action! the bike is sensational on the road and mainly due to it having the same engine as the RSV4 Factory model, a 998cc with 180hp between your legs, the ride by wire technology, having the engine electronically control the fuel injection system to provide the right amount of fuel depending on gear selected, exhaust configuration, speed, braking power and etc...
another great feature on the bike is the racing slipper clutch it has, making the shifting between all gears as nimble as popping and un-popping a pen! it gives you a feel of having an electronically managed rev prediction system!
I find it quite hard though to find the Neutral gear, it proved to require a super feather like touch :(
The nicest feature i must say on the bike is the mode selection is has: Track, Sport and Road.
With the Track mode giving full power to all 6 gears, the Sport mode limits the full power to the first three gears, making it perfect for city riding and finally the Road mode actually reduces the power to 140hp instead of the full stable of 180hp, proving essential for any rainy conditions or "safe" riding :p
The braking power is a marvel as well, with the standard Brembo brakes on both front and rear wheel, though it does not provide you with much accurate feel, making it hard to reach the sought after limit of wheel lock; but gives you more confidence in late breaking into corners knowing you can rely on racing grade brakes!
The ride on the bike was very smooth compared to the Ducati 1198S which had more of a stiffer suspension package, ideal for a race track; the Aprilia's suspension system provide by Showa front suspension and Sachs on the rear, both fully adjustable. the ride proves super comfy and well composed from corner exit, with a heavier hand on the gas on exit ;)
This a superbike straight from the race track, a super competitor to the extreme BMW 1000RR and the Ducati 1198S and Desmosedici even!
Track ready bike
Easy to control
Mirrors are tiny and prove useless with shaking a high speeds
Finally, if you are looking for one of those bikes that come every now and then to shake every bike's cage and make you drool over, the RSV4 R is the bike to have for its lower price that the competition, the perfect composure and handling, on and off the track, and the chance to own a beautiful masterpiece of engineering!
My buttermint of the day